If you've been following this blog series about marketing automation (MA), you may have already read some tips for colleges using marketing automation
and an example of the differences in websites that do and don't use marketing automation
. In this entry, I will give you a very basic example of how a service company can use marketing automation to drive customers to their door.
The service company in this example is a regional, mid-sized business. It's a heating and air conditioning (HVAC) company with a service radius of 100 miles from the company's office. The office staff includes a receptionist and a sales team of six people, plus a bookkeeper and management. The 'meat and potatoes' of this company is their service staff, which consists of twelve "teams" of two technicians each, who are out on the road making service calls and doing installations. The company services both commercial and residential customers, and the service teams are specialized to deal with each in a different way.
You can apply almost any service business to this model, but we will focus on this HVAC company in this blog post. So, let's start with the goal... We want to be able to use the website to drive potential customers deep into the sales funnel and eliminate the need for cold calling and other impersonal methods of contact.
So what are the basics that we know about this company?
- Their business is seasonal - Air conditioning in the summer, and heat in the winter.
- Their business is regional - They can cover a 100 mile radius.
- They have a good profit margin on preventive maintenance, which is important to an efficient HVAC system.
Now we need to figure out how to engage potential clients and turn them into customers!
First, it will be important to put together a varied marketing campaign that can include a combination of organic search optimization and online advertising. We will also need to consider other "off-line" advertising in media like TV, print, radio, and more. The exact elements of the campaign will be determined by budget and coverage requirements, but that's a whole different blog post!
The point of this post is... What do we do once we get them to the website, and how can marketing automation help? First, for every advertisement we must create a landing page with a unique URL or tracking mechanism, so we can accurately monitor user actions and conversions. We will also set up the campaigns to change our message seasonally. Through some basic automation, we can get a pretty good idea if the visitor is a geographic "fit", but this is not always accurate, so some additional digging may be required. In this example, we will use the winter heating campaign.
We can use some intriguing content to get the process started, and work on getting more information from the visitor. The article that we posted called, "How to Trim Big Dollars Off Your Winter Heating Bill" has proven to be very popular, so let's start there. That article includes a download form, offering the reader a whitepaper of "The 10 Things You Can Do (By Yourself) to Optimize Your Heating System". To download that whitepaper, the user must provide their first name and email address, so we can send them a link to the whitepaper. All we've done is give away some valuable, free information in exchange for some basic user contact information.
One issue is that we still don't know if the person is a potential customer, geographically speaking. We need to know their zip code. Our marketing automation can help with that, because we will create an email drip campaign that will send additional, valuable information to the user automatically on a timed interval, eventually guiding them back to a website form asking for their zip code (address) in exchange for receiving a free, in-home (or business) HVAC system assessment. That's our OFFER. Keep in mind that any offer you make must have a high perceived value with a low cost to your company. In this case, we will trade an hour of a technician's "down time" in exchange for potentially gaining a customer. The automation system will check if the zip code entered is in our service area and send a reply to schedule an appointment (or a "sorry" email explaining that they are outside the service area).
The sales team now has the name, email, and address of the lead, PLUS they know that the person is interested in the service - afterall, we are going to schedule a free assessment at their location! Without any person-to-person interaction, we have moved them several levels down in our sales funnel and have made the sales job much easier. We did this simply by taking the time to create and distribute some valuable information to our leads with no obligation or fee. We made it easy and free!
This is just one, simple way to incorporate marketing automation into your sales process. If you would like to learn more about how inbound marketing could work for your business, start by clicking the button below to begin the process of driving more customers to your door!